Ashleigh lives in a village called Southbourne (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
Welcome back to What I Own, Metro.co.uk’s weekly homeowner series.
This week we are chatting to Ashleigh Boxall, who bought her two-bed house in West Sussex last year.
Much like forensic investigator Beth from last week, Ashleigh decided to go down the shared ownership route to buy her property.
This is what she had to say about her experience…
Tell us about yourself – how old are you, what do you do for work, and where are you based?
I’m 26 and my partner Paul is 28. We both work for a trade kitchen supplier in Chichester, West Sussex. I work in admin and Paul is in sales.
Where abouts is your property? What do you think of the area?
Our home is in a village called Southbourne, just outside of Chichester. The area is quiet and friendly. It’s surrounded by farmers fields and only a short walk to the local beach.
She lives with her partner and cat (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
When did you move in?
We completed our sale on 17/07/20, we moved the same day. We got the keys at 1pm and – with just family to help – we were all done by 8pm.
What made you decide to go down the shared ownership route? And how have you found it?
We found that we wouldn’t be eligible for a mortgage above a certain amount unless we had a large deposit. Most two bedroom houses in this area are above 300k, so we didn’t have a lot of options unless we wanted to save for many more years. Without shared ownership we would have been renting for many more years.
How did you find out about shared ownership?
My parents were also considering going down the shared ownership route as they’d lived in rentals for 15 years. I talked to my mum and she convinced me it was an option worth looking into.
What would you say to anyone considering shared ownership?
Make sure you do your research. You’re buying from a landlord, usually a housing association, and they own the share – you don’t.
There can be caps on how much of the property you can buy and restrictions on home improvements so it’s always good to find out as much as you can about the housing association/landlord before proceeding.
Ashleigh considered shared ownership after speaking to her mum (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
How much does your property cost?
Our house was valued at 310k and we bought a 50% share at £155,000.
How much was your deposit?
We put down a 5% deposit on the 50% share- this worked out at £7750.
What is the monthly cost of living here now; both mortgage and bills?
We pay rent on the remaining 50% share, so rent and mortgage combined is £950. With bills this works out to about £1250 a month, which my partner and I split evenly.
How did you save up for your deposit?
We opened a joint current account in 2019 and decided we would start putting an equal amount in each month. After a year we had enough for our deposit and our legal fees.
So cosy (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
What was the process of getting a mortgage like for you? Did you find any parts challenging?
Applying for a mortgage required a lot of paperwork. There was a lot of information we needed to gather before applying, but we used a broker and the process was smooth.
With shared ownership, there’s fewer mortgages available on the market, so we did have a limited choice. We waited about four weeks for our offer – the waiting was the hardest part.
Where did you live before this – were you renting or living with family?
We’d been renting together for a few years. We paid £800 a month for a two-bed flat in Chichester before we bought this house.
What made you want to buy rather than renting?
We’d had some really bad experiences living in ground floor flats. We wanted a place we could truly make a home without disruption from neighbours and wanted the security of being home owners rather than tenants.
Fresh green tones (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
How did you find this property? What made you choose it?
The company we work for actually supplied the kitchens for these homes – so the development was on our radar. I came across our exact house when browsing aimlessly on Rightmove.
How have you made the property feel like home?
We’ve done lots of decorating – which I like to document on my Instagram page (@ashleigh.at.home).
I’m a creative person so having a blank canvas to play around with was a dream come true. We’ve been in lockdown pretty much the entire time we’ve lived here so decorating became the perfect pastime and made the house feel so much more like a home.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Our house has two bedrooms, family bathroom, en-suite, garden and a generously sized living room/diner. There’s just the two of us so it suits us perfectly. I’d love a bigger outdoor space and a driveway instead of an allocated parking space – but what we have now is more than enough.
A lovely picture wall (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
Do you have plans to change the property?
The only changes we plan to make are cosmetic, like new hard flooring downstairs and some sliding wardrobes. The benefit of a new build is that the fixtures are all brand new and stylish.
Are there any problems with the property that you have to deal with?
All new homes suffer snags, but we’ve not had any really major issues. Our en-suite shower has a leak, but that’s being looked into and will hopefully be fixed soon. We’re lucky that the house is covered for a year by the developer and has a 10 year warranty thereafter.
What do you want people to know about buying a home?
That it is stressful and to prepare for that. We bought our home and went through the whole process during the first lockdown in 2020. Even without the added issues of buying whilst the country was ground to a halt, the process can be long and exhausting. But it’s so worth it – the reward at the end outweighs it all.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of housing? Do you plan to stay here long term?
We initially thought we’d stay here long-term, but after living here for nearly a year, we’ve considered that this might not be our forever home. We don’t plan on extending our family but we’d still love some extra room for guests and hosting. We’ll see what the future holds.
Shall we have a look around?
A very homely feel (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
An open plan space (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
Enough space for hosting (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
Jazzy wallpaper (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
A little furry friend (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
Stylish bathroom (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
The second bedroom is a great study (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
Cute outdoor space (Picture: Ashleigh Boxall)
How to get involved in What I Own:
What I Own is a Metro.co.uk series that takes you inside people’s properties, to take an honest look at what it’s like to buy a home in the UK. If you own your home and would be up for sharing your story, please email [email protected]. You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’ve paid to live there and how you afforded the deposit, as that’s pretty important.
If you’re renting, you can take part too! What I Own runs alongside What I Rent, which is the same series but all about renting. Again, if you’d like to get involved just email [email protected].